FACEBACK was created by UK artist Katie Etheridge in 2008, in response to a commission from New Work Network for the National Review of Live Art. Invited to make a piece of work that would encourage meetings between people who wouldn’t normally meet, Katie developed an art game designed to engineer 100’s of face to face encounters between strangers, free from the pressures that often accompany live social networking. An instant hit, FACEBACK was born.
FACEBACK was picked up by Battersea Arts Centre who commissioned Katie for their ONE-ON-ONE Festival, and the project has since gone viral at arts events, festivals, conferences, University freshers weeks, and even a wedding!
In 2013 in Penryn, Cornwall, Katie invited for the first time a whole town to play FACEBACK. A Penryn Arts Festival commission, supported by Falmouth University, Faceback launched the Festival at Miss Peapods, before popping up in a different location each day including a community food market, local pub, music festival in the park, and neighbourhood deli. The ambitious project managed to pervade the entire Festival and town, with the result that it engaged and connected together diverse cross sections of the community, attracting over 350 players. Many 100’s more people engaged with the project as it spread through Cornwall and beyond.
For Fascinate 2014, FACEBACK went live in central Falmouth during Falmouth Tall Ships Regatta, attracting over 750 players: sailors, shoppers, families, businesses, tourists, residents, students, passers by, and even dogs enjoyed looking for friendly faces in the crowd and making new connections.